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April 16, 2019 Tuesday 10:34:46 AM IST

‘Eat and Play’ Instinct in Education

Guest Column

You ask any child. What do you want? The answer, universal, would be: I want to play. Now you will ask. What about food? The child’s innocent reply would be: yes, only when I feel hungry.   

The ‘roti-kapda-makan’ and the luxuries the child try to obtain or yearn for during his later life will develop from the above natural instinct. The inevitable need of food was the first for survival. The shelter was second and the cloth the third. The history of homo sapiens taking control of the universe outwitting the rest of the animal species actually originated from the need of the basic -food, when hungry. The stronger brain power gave humans ideas to obtain food in the easiest manner than other animals and do as little work as possible to get food (gradually the shelter, cloth and luxuries, becoming part of it). But the resources were limited and the needs went on increasing. The physically strong wanted to control the resources, but the brainy found a better way. The fear complex inherent in the child (the period of dependence on elders for food was comparatively very large in humans) was taken advantage of and civilizations everywhere created their own customs and rules to ensure it.

 

You have to work for getting food. Your play time is slashed. 


 

The brainiest created divisions based on skin colour and other physical differences and brought invisible powers to keep up the fear syndrome and played when the less fortunate were forced to work for food.In every civilization, this trend was the controlling factor. Slavery with minor differences became an inevitable part of the society.

Education was a part of it.

 


Let us look at our India, one of the earliest civilizations which can claim the first in many fields of human development. The caste system, a wonderful division in the society, created by the brainy with the backing of fear complex of divine powers ensured an expert obedient work force. The Brahmins, the brainy were on the top pedastal making all believe that they are the rule-makers directly representing the divinity. Kshatriyas were fighters and Vaishyas were the middle men distributing the resources and the Shudras the workers. The rest were untouchables. Higher education of scriptures and philosophy and all highbrow knowledge were only for Brahmins and the others had to be given knowledge and education only in the activities destined. In each caste, sub-castes and sub-sub-castes were gradually created ensuring a division of different types of labour. It had a positive factor. It ensured a job for the new member, the education for the expertise was given by the older members of the family or sub-caste and the hereditary talent got full opportunity to develop. The system worked fairly well in spite of the British type of general education and even now, even in the new fields of activity in business and industry and even in politics and other connected fields, a sub-caste and family-oriented superiority remains. 

 

But the situation has suddenly changed. 

 


Till recently, the scientific inventions over the last thousands of years had gradually made its presence felt in our lives in a silent, slow manner without much affecting the existing system and mindset of the society. Even the so-called industrial and political revolutions brought only peripheral changes and the benefits in food and play syndrome could be cornered by the brainy just allowing freebies to the rest. 

 

Technology tsunami

But the 21st century GB (digital)technology tsunami, thrust by the incredible and sweeping scientific and technological inventions taking place almost every day, has brought us to a stage where the time-old prejudices of race, language and colour have almost been wiped out and a stage has come where the entire existing equations in philosophy, sociology, politics, economics, and every other social science have become meaningless and have to be re-cast. The funny part is we don’t know how to do it. The fear complex is gone. Now we are all converted or in the process of being converted to the religion of Consumerism.


Now every child can aspire to become leaders in their chosen fields.The education system, in spite of the honest and committed efforts of outstanding brains bringing gradual changes to cope up with the situations continuously could never visualize even in their dreams the present tsunami’s results.Teacher-less school; free choice of subjects and terms; project- based learning and working; classrooms for each in their own homes; library-less oral inputs to brains; artificial intelligence for streamlining; exam-less talent expertise hunt; courses connected with futurism.

 

I don’t know what else would come out. But education will not disappear. It may just take up different forms and they may become involved in forming their curricula with mentoring/ support or guidance from professionals. 

 


I think the parental dreams will play only a minor part in education of their children just like the teacher-student based old methods.  

Nothing to worry. The next generations have better apps than their parents, teachers and library books to be on their own and find out what they are and move accordingly.



K . L. Mohana Varma

Kochi-based novelist, short story writer and columnist.
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